Videos on People Power
Reclaiming the American Dream
Reclaiming the American Dream
The People vs The Politicians
For every flaw in our politics – dark money, vote suppression, gerrymandering, Citizens United, Mega-Donors, hyper-partisanship – grassroots reformers are putting solutions to work at the state level. This is not a story of left vs right, Republicans vs Democrats. It’s a story of the People vs the Politicians, of We the People rising up against fat cats and entrenched power – and winning.
So join us for stories of grassroots heroes making a difference, combating billionaire and corporate money, empowering small donors, fighting for voters rights, mobilizing to make our democracy fairer, more transparent and more inclusive.
Rebellion at the Grass Roots
From the women’s march to the student March for Our Lives, to teacher protests in Middle America, People Power is on the move. Citizen rebellions are breaking out, state by state. Americans have grown cynical about politics and politicians. They’re fed up with Washington. So the states have become the battleground for civic action.
It’s a great story, but it gets only skimpy media coverage. For us, it’s Topic #1. From Who Gets to Vote to How to Unrig Elections, you’ll see grass roots action from North Carolina to South Dakota, from California to Connecticut, and from Florida to Washington State. And we’ve got lots more to share with you on this website, issue by issue, state by state.
Who Gets to Vote
The battle over who gets to vote has sharpened recently, with some states making it easier with same-day and motor-voter registration, and other states making it harder with strict photo voter ID laws that are tough on minorities, students and older people.
North Carolina is a major battleground. After the GOP-led legislature enacted a tight law, the Moral Monday movement led by Rev.William Barber challenged that law. A federal court struck down the photo ID as unconstitutional. But Republican lawmakers have reimposed restrictions through a constitutional referendum in 2018 and reformers have taken them back to court.
Dakota Populists Battle Power Brokers
Populist rebellion has deep roots in the Dakotas. In 1898, South Dakota became first state to grant voters the power to pass laws through popular ballot initiatives. Now 26 states have that option.
In 2016, TakeItBack.org, a grass roots movement, crushed three reform initiatives.To everyone’s surprise, voters adopted public funding of campaigns. Republican political leaders were shocked. They declared an emergency and nullified the popular vote. That set off new battle in 2018. Neither side won and the fight goes on.
Outing Secret Donors
The covert power of dark money has becomer the hallmark of American politics since the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision in 2010. The super-rich and corporations buy back-door influence using political nonprofits with innocuous names that mask who’s pulling the strings.
But in 2012, California’s election watchdog agency went after one of the biggest, boldest dark money networks, run by the Koch Brothers, and wound up exposing some of the California elite – Bob Fisher, CEO of the Gap; Mega-Investor Charlie Schwab, and LA philanthropist Eli Broad. Then California beefed up its financial disclosure rules and now runs a web list of each campaign’s top ten donors.
Victory at the Grass Roots
“Citizens United” touched off a mass revolt. When people saw billionaire and corporate money flooding campaigns and SuperPAC spending skyrocketing, they rebelled. Nearly 800 local governments and 19 states have called for a US constitutional amendment to roll back the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision.
In state after state, political amateurs like Cindy Black mobilized. “We do not believe that corporations are people,” Black declared. “We do not believe money is speech.” Black led the citizen movement in Washington State that was a model of grass roots democracy in action. It rolled up a solid 63% cross-partisan majority vote to reject “Citizens United.”
The Way To Beat Big Money
With political scandals grabbing headlines, a grass roots coalition of citizen reformers in Connecticut put the heat on the governor and legislature to adopt public funding of campaigns. That changed Connecticut’s political landscape.
In a decade, Connecticut has become a model for the U.S. It has imposed a tight lid of $100 on campaign contributions forcing MegaDonors to the sidelines, generating more voice for little people, less clout for special interests. And it has changed the policy agenda, enabling the legislature to pass stiff gun control, paid family leave, and other social legislation. The whole political ballgame has changed.
How to Unrig Elections
Rigging elections is an old game. Voters are finally waking up to how politicians stack the deck by manipulating election district maps. Now, We the People demand reform.
What Florida did in 2010 is amazing. Florida voters made it unconstitutional for politicians to gerrymander election maps to favor one party or to protect incumbents. And when the legislature cheated, reformers took lawmakers to court and won a thundering decision. Other states simply take the job of redistricting maps away from politicians and turn it over to independent bipartisan commission with the goal of fair districts that will give voters a genuine choice in elections.
Voter ID in Hot Battle for US Senate
The battle for control of the US Senate this fall is hot and highly competitive. The key to victory In half a dozen tight races is likely to be voter turnout affected by how hard or easy it is to vote in each state.
GOP strategists are counting on tight voter laws to help Republican challengers In North Dakota and Indiana to knock off Democratic incumbents Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly. In Texas, to protect the Senate seat of Republican Ted Cruz; and finally, in Tennessee to help Republicans retain the open seat left by their retiring Senator Bob Corker. In those races, shaving a few hundred of thousands of the other side could be decisive.
Taking Back Our Democracy
Want to tune into the missing story of US politics – positive news that’s flying under the radar of the mainstream media?
In this video, Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times journalist Hedrick Smith brings you first-hand reporting on how citizen movements are winning political reforms at the state level from North Carolina to California, Connecticut to South Dakota, and Florida to Washington State.
It’s no secret that millions of Americans are fed up with politicians rigging elections, corporations flooding our campaigns with dark money, and power brokers blocking people from registering to vote or cast ballots. Problem is that people feel powerless to achieve about change.
But take heart. Smith has a fresh handle on this story. Watch him describe grass roots heroes and how they are fixing our broken democracy, step by step, state by state. Just listening will lift your spirits. These are stories that inspire action. As Miami organizer Jorge Mursuli puts it, ”If we can do it in Florida, you can do it in your state.”
The People vs The Politicians
People Power winning back our democracy. Citizen rebellions breaking out, state by state. It’s a great story, mostly unknown because it gets only skimpy media coverage. For us, it’s Topic #1 and you can learn lots more at our website, reclaimtheamericandream.org.
4 States Revolt vs. Politicians
2018 choice for voters – Do you want to let politicians keep rigging election district maps, or set up to an independent commission to create a level political playing field and more competitive elections?
Public Funding Gets a Winner!
Public funding of campaigns in states and cities empowers small donors and blunts influence of billionaire and corporation money.
Ohio Rebels vs Rigged Elections
Ohio, long a bellwether in U.S. elections, again signals what’s trending. Fair Districts Ohio, a grassroots reform movement, has challenged Ohio’s legislature for stacking congressional elections in favor of Republicans by manipulating district maps.
Why Voter ID Laws Matter & Where
As we head into the 2018 election, you’ll hear more about voter turnout and its importance in the battle for control of Congress. Here’s a run down of some races that could effect the outcome of the election.